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Newcastle must first repair their reputation in order to recruit top players

Fans have seen a steady decline in quality on the field at St. James' Park in recent years as a result of a flawed transfer policy and a fading reputation.

There are several issues facing Steve McClaren as he attempts to rejuvenate a club that barely escaped top flight relegation in May.

While the new boss may be able to work quickly to revive a squad short on confidence on the training ground, McClaren must confront the underlying issue that if the club is to move forward Newcastle must rebuild their reputation in order to entice top players back to St. James' Park.

Given the option of joining the North-East side or a London-based club in a similar position, many foreign stars (and British for that matter) opt for the latter due to the comfort and ease of settling in the capital city.

Newcastle has always been a hard sell geographically but overcame this hindrance in the past in thanks to the club's image as a reputable force in English football with a unique following and desire for success.

Kevin Keegan and the late, great Sir Bobby Robson were without doubt the best man-managers in Newcastle’s modern history and both were able to match their sides against the elite of the English game and succeed.

Both took over a Newcastle United on its knees and brought them back from the brink. Both were able to transform the club's fortunes and not just compete against the elite of the English game, but succeed.

It is no coincidence that Keegan and Robson also knew the city like the back of their hand. Both were able to passionately sell their vision for the club to stars through personal visits that demonstrated to a player just how much they were coveted on Tyneside.

With a reputation built, players on the outside saw Newcastle as a place where they can not only win trophies but play the best days of their football. With the increase in quality, the club challenged for championships and sustained top five finishes on a regular basis.

Fast forward a decade and Newcastle United have regressed to the point where missing out on top targets has become a standard occurrence each summer.

The Magpies' credibility has taken an enormous hit in the past decade, especially in the last three years and as younger players come through, some too young to remember previous glory days, the prospect of playing at St. James Park does not have the same effect on targets as it once did.

Newcastle has instead become a stepping-stone for unproven talent to shine before moving on to bigger and better things.Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy both were signed for small fees and were sold to European powerhouses at a hefty profit.

Unless this money is spent correctly however, it is simply not a winning strategy.

This is not to say that discovering hidden talent is not a viable option. The ability to do so is a rare attribute and one that head scout Graham Carr has shown he possesses; Cabaye, Debuchy, Moussa Sissoko, Cheick Tioté, Ayoze Pérez and Daryl Janmaat are amongst some of the success stories from the club's current transfer policy.

Unfortunately, the likes of Emmanuel Rivière, Rémy Cabella, Gabriel Obertan, and Facundo Ferreyra were also signed under these restrictions and all have floundered on the field.

The task ahead for Newcastle now is to make a statement in this summer window that the hunger for success has returned. Owner Mike Ashley said on the final day of the season that he is here until Newcastle win something. Now it is time to prove it.

The club must learn that they have to pay big money for the best players and when Steve McClaren gets his chance to pitch, he must impart his vision for the club to convince potential signings that joining Newcastle is the right choice.

This isn’t something that can be fixed with one window, or even one season. The opportunity to start building towards another successful era at Newcastle United is.

That is what makes this is one of the most important summers for the club in recent memory. For all involved, actions speak louder than words.

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